And it has emerged that profit outweighed planning considerations as the principal reason for choosing the scheme put forward by developers Coolwater Ltd in preference to a rival bid from Dandara.The JEP has obtained a copy of a document that recommended the board select Coolwater as preferred developer for the multi-million pound contract.
This is the document that both WEB and the Policy and Resources contend should not be released to States Members because it includes commercially sensitive information.However, Senator Stuart Syvret is fighting to have the document released as he seeks to discover the background to the choice of Coolwater as preferred developer.It shows that Coolwater’s proposals included providing 108 self-catering apartments measuring 40,000 sq ft, about 55,000 sq ft of office accommodation on the annexe site, 120 basement car parking spaces, 20,000 sq ft for a boutique hotel also in the annexe and a 50,000 sq ft conversion of the abattoir.This is earmarked to house cafés, a gallery, bookshops, a theme bar and other leisure facilities.The scheme also includes 11,500 sq ft for a new transportation centre, which will house the new bus station.The total costs – which include £700,000 for improvements to the Esplanade and a further £518,750 to provide public open space – are said to be £44.3m.
However, WEB estimate the value of the completed development at £54.7m.Dandara’s proposals included the construction of a £750,000 footbridge to the Albert Pier, £200,000 for public art, a £200,000 donation to the parish of St Helier, a £20,000 exhibition area and a £40,000 donation to Centre Ville.
The Coolwater scheme did propose a footbridge from the annexe site to the Esplanade car park but former WEB managing director John Scally’s report says: ‘During the interview Coolwater agreed that a link bridge to the Albert Pier would be preferable.’The Dandara scheme is costed at £28.8m and is primarily for office development with some retail, healthcare, leisure and exhibition space included.
It also includes 80 car parking spaces.P & R carried out an investigation into the process used by WEB to select a preferred developer following claims of conflict of interest made against WEB chairman Martin Bralsford.It was revealed by the JEP that Mr Bralsford had been at the Coolwater interview when it was ‘mentioned in passing’ that Coolwater had spoken to Ann Street Brewery about the possibility of providing drink licences for premises to be included in the development.Mr Bralsford is chief executive of CI Traders, Ann Street’s parent company and the P & R inquiry said that Mr Bralsford should have withdrawn from the interview and taken no further part in the process when the conflict of interest became apparent.However, all members of WEB, including the chairman, were cleared of any impropriety.Senator Syvret’s proposition for the dissolution of the Waterfront Enterprise Board was due to be debated by the States today.